Art in Review: Junko Yoda
The New York Times
July 02, 2004
Shell forms, water and windows prompt the quiet, contemplative images in this Japanese-born artist's current show. Her low-key but eloquent ways with materials and her exquisite craftsmanship make her work a delight to behold.
A series called ''Windows'' is prompted by the tiny floral pattern seen through a curtain stuck to an icy window. She evokes that image on slightly rippled rice paper sheets, using acrylic and oilstick to produce a surface rich in subtle variations of shade and texture. In a very large painting called ''River Flow,'' the meandering lines of a river and its tributaries flow calligraphically across a rough, varicolored surface, made by applying paint to layers of paper, then tearing them in tiny pieces that are knotted with paper strings and affixed to the canvas.
Another series, ''Waves,'' uses individually sculptured papier mâché shell forms -- mussels, scallops, quahogs -- in neutral grays, arranged in mixed configurations. Loose, they fill two big papier mâché bowls like food offerings. Or they are arranged in tighter, fixed clusters and mounted in wall boxes, like ''Waves F-1,'' which looks like a lettuce or cabbage head.
Ms. Yoda's set piece is ''Ice Floe,'' a large work inspired by the sight of smashed ice on a frozen Hudson River last winter. A layer of plexiglass serves as the river bottom, then comes a layer of shell forms, then another layer of frosted plexiglass that represents the surface. The broken ''ice,'' made of large papier mâché pieces, lies on top of the frosted glass. Unfortunately, the work's orchestration is a little too decorative to suggest the river and its tumult of ice. Still, what's a misfire in a show this accomplished? GRACE GLUECK